I’m heading over to the printer tomorrow to check on a very exciting napkin test. I think, I hope (!) we found a new fabric to use. It’s a linen/cotton blend. Please, please work! We’re testing the blue and pink styles for saturation and the fabric’s ability to hold the color. Keep your fingers crossed! But, the other exciting news is that I’m testing three new color schemes as well. I’ll most likely go with one of the more neutral colors – that’s what most people have been asking for, but that brown and turquoise is so luscious! Thought you’d like get a sneak peek. Geraldine at Stamen is a color genius. (Click on the image to get a closer look)
Map Styles for Mapkins
Did you know that you can add up to three markers for free? (I just updated the FAQ to reflect pricing for more than three markers here) That’s right! Up to three locations can be customized so add your Nana’s house, or where you were born, or two of your best friends (if you are lucky enough to have them live nearby) to your map. Here are some fun examples:
Setting up with best intentions and a nervous smile.
The thing about a trade show or conference is that you learn more about your business preparing for it, than demoing it. I participated in a Startup Showcase that introduces your new business to people who love new businesses and if you’re lucky catches the eye of a VC or angle investor. So in preparation, I studied our conversion rates and demographics of customers and visitors, revisited the business plan, created a compelling slide show for the demo, and gave a great deal of thought to how the technology behind the blankets would fit into the context of the theme of the conference (location based everything–it is called Where afterall, except we’re not on an ipad or iphone!) And, if anyone asked what I would do with seed money I could answer in 30 seconds. I was really ready to be grilled!
"Yes, we can ship outside the US!"
Do you know what happened? People went gaga over the samples. I never once used the slides. Or stood behind the table. And I think two people asked me how they were made. They just loved the product! I was very pleased with the amount of interested we got, even though we didn’t win “Best Idea” (Although many people afterwards said, “I voted for you!”–thank you very kind people!) Also, most visitors were impressed that we used Open Street Map data, but for the most part were more concerned about how many arrows they could put on their map or if we made a version with personal photos added to blanket. (and the answer is no on that because I can’t begin to try to adjust the color on every random photo to make sure it prints crisp and clear on fleece fabric)
So what did I learn? Overprepare and have fun! And if people love the experience of the thing you make, don’t worry about the rest. Just keep making it! I’m thinking Kickstarter is our next move.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to show off Soft Cities and would like to thank Brady Forrest at O’Reilly for setting us up, Hurricane Coast for initial encouragement and Eric Rodenbeck for amazing feedback and support.
Now please, I must get back to making maps!!
If you haven’t heard already, I wanted everyone to know that I’ve changed the name of my company! I know you probably really liked PistilSF (it was awfully clever), but if we’re going to do this big, I don’t think the name should be an inside joke.
(My first .gif ad, created for MondoWindow!)
Eric and I were talking about the blankets at SXSW and I said Soft Cities practically in passing. Suddenly we both looked at each other and gasped! It was one of those great slap-your-forehead moments when we both knew at the same time what a perfect name it would be. Luckily http://softcities.net was available so I bought the URL in the bar!
Yay Soft Cities!
We were featured in the Flaunt Section of A-list Moms Today. I’m so excited!
I’m getting a few requests for infant size blankets. What size is that exactly? Leave a comment with your opinion and I’ll see if I can figure out a price with my printer by the end of the week.
Oh this makes me happy. Look at the smiles! (okay, I do have to admit that I’m in one of the photos. I promise it isn’t my Oprah Magazine moment. But, I too am VERY happy to use an extra blanket to keep warm in our almost-snow weather). Athena, the young lady, took her blanket to school for show-and-tell and to quote her dad, “all the kids went crazy!” Thank you Athena via Larry, Arthur via Russell, Puppy via Kathryn, Matt, Nick and Eric via Tom A. for sharing your pictures with us!
See, that wasn’t so bad…if you were too shy to share in time for this post please email a picture or a link in anytime! I’d love to show you off!
A strange thing happened today. I added a form to the site so ordering would be easier. A few days pass and voila, “Order Incoming!” shows up in my inbox as it’s supposed to. But, quickly I become suspect because there was no contact info–initials for a name and a strange email address. But the form was completely filled out otherwise. I ran the address request and up comes a beautiful map from somewhere in the Netherlands. So, was this a ghost in the machine? or spam? Maybe the Ghost Mapper will claim his/her map so I can make a blanket of this awesome thing! (Just look at those cool railroad tracks cutting through the middle!)
Will the person who lost their map please come to the front counter?
Often when I work on maps/blankets for a while I start to see the street pattern everywhere. Actually they aren’t really street patterns, but city patterns. Like a street map zoomed way out.
Today as I was walking to lunch I started seeing little mini cities in the street cracks. Dense cities, sparse cities, a farm, and even one with a roundabout. I love the ones where it seems as though there are several major highways leading you into the city limits. Are you seeing this or is it just me? I think I might be thinking about this stuff too much.
But, I am a teency bit biased. (sorry for the repost, but that picture was tooo Iphony.)
Me and Eric on Nob Hill testing blankets for the Picnicking Set. Yup, they work!
Customize your arrow!
I wish I had taken a picture of this blanket before it was mailed–it was so sweet! It reminds me of what great Valentine’s Day gifts our blankets make. The arrow can be customized with anything you want, so go ahead and smother him with map blanket love!
Orders for February 14th delivery must be place by this Friday, February 4th.
A gift coupon can be bought by February 9th if you would like it mailed to your honey before Valentines Day. Gift coupons are good for recipients who might want to choose their own location/map style or last minute gift buyers like me.
Both blue and pink styles of blankets are available along with the pink Mapkins. (sorry, the blue Mapkins still need work) Go to Map Styles for more information.